August 4, 2013: 1. Project updates 2. New England Quilt Museum and Lowell Quilt Festival

Greetings!

We are finally having some  beautiful summer days – instead of rain or extreme heat! – and I’m spending quality time with my husband before I go back to my full time work schedule in 2 weeks.   Great day trips abound from our location in New England and it’s a real luxury to make spur of the moment decisions to go places when the weather is good.  In addition, I’m thoroughly enjoying working on my quilting projects because soon my time for them will be much more limited.  I’m actively working on 3 projects.

The first project is the doll quilts I talked about in the last post.  The tops are all done!  Here is a picture of all 4 of them at once and that is followed by a picture of each one separately, except for the one with the red border which I showed in the last post, and then one a little closer so you can see the fabrics better. These will all need to be layered with batting and backing in prep for hand quilting.   I have started hand quilting one of the other 2 doll quilts in my new “trio” of doll quilts.

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ImageChoosing the borders was fun.  They had to be fairly simple because the center is so busy.  At first I thought I could only use tone-on-tone fabric, which appears solid from a distance, but ultimately decided some small prints looked good too.

The second project:  I’ve started working on Spring Sonata again.  The first decision was whether to have the top and bottom borders the same as or different from the side borders.  I started by putting one of the side borders across the top to see how it would look:

ImageAfter looking carefully at this, I decided I like the look and that it could be too busy to add a different design.  So…continue the same design.  However, the quilt is not square, so I had to reduce the number of stems from 8 on the sides to 7 on the top and bottom and symmetry was affected by doing that.  I actually looked at using 8 stems, but the angles had to be more acute for all to fit and I didn’t think it looked right so reduced the number of stems to 7:

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You can see that the far left stem on the top border is not going to “meet” the top stem of the left border.  After thinking about this a lot, I decided this is definitely OK.  I’m thinking of adding a folk art style bird in the space below the stem to fill in the extra space.  You can also see that I stuck a dark green square of fabric in the upper lt. corner – am thinking I will eventually use a dark green background for the corner blocks and perhaps put a dark gold “sun” in each one.  Now I have to sew these stems down and add the leaves and berries.  I’ve spent some time cutting out those pieces:ImageFor my berries, I use a very small seam allowance – about an eighth of an inch – because that reduces the bulk of fabric you are trying to needleturn under and makes the edges smoother:

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The third project I’m working on is my new one!!  

For a long time, I’ve had the traditional “wagon wheels” block on my list of patterns to use as a design inspiration.  I love circular designs and have used many of them in my quilts already, with many more on my “to do” list.  A while back the following quilt was featured in Quiltmania magazine and I set this issue aside, hoping to use it somehow:

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I have been wanting to use more of my authentic and vintage Japanese fabrics to make another “Spirit of Japan” quilt which would be the third in the series.  ( You can check out #1 and #2 in the gallery on my web site.)  I recently decided that this would be a good pattern to show off these fabrics.

I decided to make one quarter of each block/circle to see how my fabrics would look, and then, if good, I’d proceed to finish all of the circles.  I traced 16 quarter circles for the paper foundations:

ImageI like Carol Doak’s paper as it holds up well during the construction process and is easy to remove.

At first I thought this might be a multicolor quilt but when I got out all my authentic Japanese fabric, there was an abundance of indigo, blue, and red.  I knew right away those would be the prominent colors.  When I tried seeing how other colors I had would look with these, they didn’t look right so I decided to go with the predominantly red and blue color scheme with some tan, beige and a little white mixed in.  Here are the 16 partial blocks:

ImageAnd here are some close-ups:

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ImageI am really loving how these are looking so far!!!  It’s going to be a fun challenge to figure out what fabrics to use in the centers of the circles and in the backgrounds with each of these and also what sashing to use between the blocks.  I might be able to embellish some areas with sashiko stitching.  I’m excited!!

The last thing I want to mention before ending this post is that the Lowell Quilt Festival is coming up this next weekend, actually 8/9-11.  Please go if you get a chance – it is going to be an excellent show and well worth the trip.  Not only is there the Images show competition to view but there are quilts at other venues in town well worth seeing and there is a free shuttle bus to take you from place to place.  Last week when I took my “Feathering My Nest” quilt to the New England Quilt Museum to drop it off for the show, I stayed and saw the museum’s “A Slice of Cheddar” exhibit.  I was totally blown away by the quilts – they are fabulous and not to be missed!  The work is almost all hand done and the colors are spectacular.   You can check out the NEQM web site for more info on the show.  This alone would be worth the trip to Lowell, but there are also art quilts at the Brush Art Gallery, vendors at the show, and much more.  Go if you can!   Most likely in my next post I’ll be showing pictures from the Festival.

Thanks for stopping by!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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